Herself an Author: Gender, Agency, and Writing in Late by Grace S. Fong

By Grace S. Fong

Addresses the serious query of the way to process the learn of women's writing. It explores a number of tools of conducting a significant manner with a wealthy corpus of poetry and prose written via ladies of the past due Ming and Qing classes.

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Whether writing congratulatory poems on her parents’ and grandmother’s birthdays, a farewell poem to her elder brother leaving for the capital, or a poem about her mother receiving a letter from her brother, these and other occasions were transformed into verse records. Gan was especially close to her sister, Yue’e, who was only two or three years older. Being so close in age, the two girls would have received instruction together from their mother on many matters. While she matched the rhymes to her parents’ and elder brothers’ poems, Gan Lirou often wrote linked verse with her sister, a practice more commonly taken up between equals and intimates.

Her longing for him can only be solaced in dreams. In another poem in the sao style, “Stirred by Feelings while Ill at the End of Autumn: A Long Song,” she expressed her worries about how she had to take over her husband’s tasks of teaching their sons and caring for his mother: every moment she had to watch out for calamities as though standing on the edge of a precipice. 92 When the mourning period was over, she marked the ritual occasion with the poem, “My Deceased Husband’s Spirit Tablet Will Enter the Lineage Shrine for Worship,” accompanied by this explanatory note: “According to the custom of our district, when the three year mourning is completed, the spirit tablet is invited into the shrine.

The poem begins with the auspicious omen that accompanied her birth: “Mother dreamed when she played with the moon, the stars turned into jade” (l. 2). Gan’s courtesy name, Ruyu (Like Jade), may be derived from this symbolic dream. 106 At the same time, the subordination of her gender is immediately registered as the disappointment shown by male members of the family at the birth of a girl: “Father cried out, ‘Alas, lowly, she will sleep on the ground,’ / Elder brothers sighed that they would not be bonding with a brother” (ll.

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